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Weekend Project: Harvest Microformats for Fun and Profit

Feb 28, 2011, 03:03 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Nathan Willis)

" Microformats are a way to slip computer-readable information into HTML, so it's "semantically" marked-up, not just visually marked up. With hCalendar, for example, when you advertise a big event on your Web page, it's not only human-readable, but the browser can notice that it's a calendar event and prompt the reader to add it to his or her Sunbird or Google Calendar schedule. The tricky part is, most browsers don't highlight microformats at all, much less prompt you to do something interesting with them. This weekend, you can enable that power in Firefox and start making better use of the microformats that are hidden, all around you, on the Web.

"Such semantic Web markup is one of those great-sounding ideas that is just a little too hard to explain to the average non-tech-obsessed person on the street. There are a couple of reasons why. First, it combines multiple existing "formats," which can make it hard to keep the pieces straight. In a nutshell, microformats are a way to wrap invisible HTML or XHTML elements and attributes around text in a page, so that it conforms to some other data format. For example, the hCard microformat squeezes the existing vCard contact format into plain HTML by putting div elements around a person's name, email address, and whatnot."

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